Sticker Shock at Heronswood


Fast-forward a few days to a guest commentary by Mr. Ball in which he corrects the record, stating that the price back in the day was $5.5 million and that $11 million is a fair price for this horticultural treasure, which he hopes will remain intact and open to the public.  (He also points out that he offered to sell it back to the original owners after a couple of years, when it was clear that things were not working out, for $2.5 mil, but they turned him down.

(by the way, Garden writer Graham Rice had some interesting things to say on the situation a while back on his Amazon blog ; check it out if you just can’t get enough of this story. And Graham, we are totally drooling over that Encyclopedia of Perennials.  You’re killin’ us here.)

BandarbushSo:  Heronswood.  Up in the air.  $11 million.  A bargain, Mr. Ball points out, making a peculiar comparison between the Heronswood garden and former Saudi ambassador and close Bush family friend (shown here holding hands with the prez–that’s sweet!) Prince Bandar’s palacial Aspen home, priced at $135 million, or Donald Trump’s shack on the beach in Florida, priced at $125 million. Well, yes, those are the two highest asking prices ever seen for a piece of residential real estate, so Heronswood, along with any other piece of real estate on the market, Bandar_2seems like a bargain in comparison. 

In fact, on a per-acre basis, it’s exactly half the price of Bandar’s estate, but unless Heronswood includes a home with 16 bathrooms, 15 bedrooms, stables, a tennis court, an indoor swimming pool, outdoor water features and a snowmelt driveway (whatever that is), plus a number of "smaller homes" for our staff, we’re not going for it.


  1. “…to move the operations to larger space in Pennsylvania and Delaware, where we could better serve a national constituency and increase the value of our plants by screening them for wider climatic adaptation.”

    In other words, screw native plants. They want bluapples (PPAF), our new blueberry-flavored pineapples, up there in Maine, even though they don’t know it yet.

    This is just so wrong, on so many levels, that it makes me sad. I keep tropicals as houseplants because they wouldn’t survive in the yard. Some have been flowering for me for more than 10 years. They’re like friends.

    A hybridized version that can weather January in a bank of snowplow mush and come out smiling just wouldn’t be the same.

    On a happier note, thanks to Graham Rice’s blog, I found a local nursery (Evermay) that offers woodland plants for that deep-shade corner of the yard I’m about to tackle.

    Thanks, Graham and Amy!

  2. Just received my order from Burpee’s Heronswood. I was charged for 4 plants I did not receive. Customer service response: call back on Monday.

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